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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Golden Fall Pears

Friday, November 1, 2013

For lunch today I had a 
fresh golden pear, 
the first one for this fall.

As I sliced the pear in two, 
the sight of the half pear with its stem intact 
triggered visions of pear vignettes. 

As I ate the delicious, juicy perfectly ripe pear,
I mulled over how to create vignettes with the remaining pears,
and mulled over thoughts about a family favorite recipe
for baked pears in wine.

The vignette thoughts swirled in my mind with visions of
more than one vignette, thoughts of a series of three vignettes,
each featuring a different stage in the life of the pears in my kitchen.

part one ... 
Beginning with images of pears in a fall vignette table scape
as they sit waiting to be eaten...

Pears paired with a pumpkin...
Pears in a white bowl with a French crown,
shining in the sunlight with an
antique Paris carte postale in the background.

Reminiscent of a still life painting,
perhaps composed by a French painter.

Remembering French Country living is in the details.
Style, grace, presentation even in the smallest things,
in everyday settings, not just for special guests.
Storing fruit in a way that feeds the spirit,
and brings a smile to the hearts of the family.
Joie de vivre... 

part two...
A vignette of the fresh pear being prepared to be eaten.

As I placed the sliced pear on a small floral plate, 
I enjoyed seeing the sliced pear with other 
pears in the background. 

Pears are fall fruits and fit nicely with small white pumpkins, 
another fruit/vegetable harvested in the fall . 

Once fresh pears are cut, the fruit darkens quickly,
reminding me also that even uncut pears quickly become overripe
and must be eaten within a day or two.

Which brings to mind more memories of French food.
Meals are prepared with the freshest ingredients,
often bought that morning in the market or
picked fresh from a personal jardin.
Flavorful heritage fruit varieties grown for taste,
not hybridized varieties cultivated for shipping long distances.

part three...
A Warm Carmelized Pears recipe for the remaining pears
creates yet another vignette of pears.

I thought the recipe was in my
Williams and Sonoma Food Made Fast dessert cookbook shown,
but the Pears Poached in Wine recipe in this cookbook is not our favorite.

The recipe I used is adapted from Williams and Sonoma's recipe
Warm Carmelized Pears With Clove Zabaglione.

For the Pears: 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup sweet Marsala (I used white grape juice.)
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 lemon zest strips, each 3 inches long by 1/2 inch wide
6 Bosc or French Butter pears (I used 3 Bartlett pears)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cooking time ~ 30-40 minutes 
❧ Cut the pears into halves, remove the centers, carefully keeping the stem on one half. 
In a small bowl, stir together the cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the Marsala (or grape juice), honey, butter, lemon zest, and the spices. Heat until butter just melts. Remove from heat. Place the pears in a baking dish, hollow side down, and pour the liquid mixture over them. 
❧ Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the liquid in the dish, and turning them over halfway through cooking, until easily pierced with a knife, 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm until served.  

To serve, place pear halves in individual bowls. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I use Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.) Add the liquid to the bowl and spoon a tablespoon or two over the ice cream. The Williams and Sonoma recipe includes directions to make Clove Zabaglione instead of ice cream, but we like the vanilla ice cream.

Nothing says Fall more than Warm Carmelized Pears.

We love this recipe all winter,
including at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

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